After eight months of speculation, Covid swabs and agenda-shuffling, President Alberto Fernández has finally secured a prestigious meeting with his US counterpart Joe Biden in Washington DC next week.
Fernández, 63, will meet with Biden March 29 at the White House, diplomatic sources confirmed to multiple local outlets on Thursday. The two leaders intend to discuss shared values and ways in which to deepen bilateral relations.
A private meeting between the two leaders was originally supposed to take place in July 2022, but was postponed twice. The first cancellation came after Biden tested positive for Covid-19 and went into a brief period of isolation, while a second postponement was also related to health issues.
Argentina’s Ambassador to the United States Jorge Argüello and Biden’s advisor for Latin America, Juan González, have been at pains to stress that the intention has always been to meet and that Biden is only “behind schedule” when it comes to meeting Latin American leaders.
Nevertheless, Biden has met with Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and did find space in his agenda to meet the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, just weeks after the veteran leftist had taken office.
While Fernández’s entourage has confirmed the meeting for next week, Biden’s team is yet to officially follow suit.
Argentina’s Presidential Spokesperson Gabriela Cerruti told Perfil on Thursday that they have not received Biden’s formal invitation and the details of the meeting have yet to be clarified.
The agenda for the meeting is open, but the two leaders are sure to discuss the global impact of the war between Russia and Ukraine, efforts to boost trade and institutional issues affecting Latin America.
Diplomatic sources told Perfil that Argüello and Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero had been key in securing the meeting. At a recent G20 summit in New Delhi, Cafiero spoke with Secretary of State Anton Blinken, in part, to press Argentina’s desire for a full visit.
After speaking with Cafiero, Blinken tweeted, “Great conversation with the Argentine Foreign Minister @SantiagoCafiero at the G20 this afternoon. We talked about the importance of protecting democracy, human rights, food security and our shared commitment to a secure and prosperous hemisphere.”
The meeting would cap off celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of diplomatic relations, which Cafiero and US Ambassador to Argentina Marc Stanley rang in at the beginning of the year.
Fernández will meet Biden at White House directly after attending the Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State on March 25, which brings together 19 Latin American countries, Andorra, Spain, and Portugal.
The president is scheduled to depart from Ezeiza Airport on March 24.